Health News Wed, 27 Jul 2022

Strengthen surveillance to contain spread of COVID-19 virus — Dr. Atiwoto

The Director of Research, Statistics, Information Division of Ministry of Health, Dr Wisdom Atiwoto, has called for pragmatic and innovative approaches to managing the COVID-19 pandemic as the world continued to face unprecedented challenges due to the disease.

He said to curb the spread of the virus, public health surveillance needed to be strengthened, through research, capacity building and action.

Dr Atiwoto made the call in an address at the Sixth Biennial Conference of the Faculty of Social Sciences Education at the University of Education Winneba (UEW) on the theme: “Bringing the Grown to town: Reflections on Africa’s Development in the Face of Pandemics”.

It was to capsulate the contribution of African scholars to societies amid the outbreak of pandemics during the post-pandemic era, what they have learnt from previous pandemics, how well they have prepared to support the continent and measures to employ to help safeguard Africa from devastating effects of the pandemic.

Dr Atiwoto, who delivered the keynote address, stated that the pandemic had profound and long-term economic and social impacts which needed an integrated model for the delivery of training courses, social research and strengthening of institutional mechanisms for sustainable recovery and restoring normality in people’s lives.

Also, innovative strategies and protocols must be found to respond to similar outbreaks in the future.

“The current pandemic has changed our world by touching not only the health sector but the education and agriculture sectors as well as other sectors of the economy,” he said.

According to him, there were growing concerns that the unequal impact of the pandemic across social-economic groups, risk cementing inequalities of opportunity and undermining social mobility and, therefore, called for policies to foster an inclusive recovery and strengthen resilience.

Concerning communicable diseases, specifically, findings from previous pandemics suggested that social determinants of infection risks and disease severity contributed to aggravated social inequalities in health and widen the health gap.

According to him, such findings were rarely acknowledged, neither in public discussions nor in the planning and implementation of infection control measures.

Dr Atiwoto indicated that Ghana’s Universal Health Care (UHC) roadmap had the vision of ensuring that all people in the country had timely access to high-quality health services irrespective of their ability to pay at the point of care.

“It also recognizes the critical role research and evidence generation must play in the attainment of the UHC by 2030.

“For which, reason research agenda setting, as well as collaboration with research institutions, has been outlined as components of the roadmap,” he stated.

To effectively respond to a public health emergency, Ghana’s Health System must engage and step up preparedness activities with active involvement and leadership of health sector players, communities and private sector participation, he suggested.

Professor Lucy Effeh Attom, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences of UEW, said Africa’s developmental agenda had been to increase productivity, improve the socio-economic wellbeing of individuals and also to promote self-reliance.

According to her, agenda 2063 which seeks to transform Africa into a global powerhouse was yet to see the desired growth and development.

As result, there was the need for certain adjustments and total reconsideration of the development plan, since pandemics have the potential to cause total restructure of all aspects of development, she added.
Source: GNA
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